Professional Development

Whether you have new trustees, governors or clerks seeking induction training, or are an established board looking to improve the way you set and monitor the vision and strategy of your school, federation, academy, multi academy trust (MAT) or other school organisation –
our Professional Development Team can offer you support.


Clare Collins MBE, Head of Consultancy

Clare leads and manages NGA’s consultancy service which undertakes external reviews of governance for all types of schools and academy trusts including MATs, as well as providing specialised consultancy support and bespoke support, training and development for MATs. Clare works alongside NGA’s Head of Training Development recruiting, training and managing NGA’s team of consultants, developing the training offer, and ensuring effective delivery. Clare also contributes to NGA publications, speaks at events and represents NGA.

Clare’s background is in governance and trusteeship. She has chaired the governing board in a number of schools in different phases and in varying stages of their development. Clare has also chaired her local authority Schools Forum, and her trustee experience includes chairing the NGA trust board from 2008-2011.


Daisy Edwards, Professional Development Administrator 

Daisy is a Professional Development Administrator at the NGA.  Daisy provides administrative support for NGA’s e-learning, training and consultancy. She is most likely going to be the person on the other end of the phone or responding to email regarding  Learning Link questions.

Before joining NGA Daisy worked with the Stratford Literary Festival and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and gained a Masters degree in Shakespeare and Creativity with the University of Birmingham in 2016.



Emma Balchin, Director of Professional Development

Emma oversees NGA Professional Development leading on the administration of the service.  Her role includes exploring potential projects with new and existing partners, and ensuring that the professional development services are promoted well and in a timely fashion.  

Emma has over 20 years’ experience in education, leadership and school improvement. She is a National Leader of Governance and has significant experience in maintained school and academy governance, as well as serving as an IEB member and mentoring others.


Matthew Swann, Learning Link Manager

Matthew manages NGA Learning Link, developing and delivering the Learning Link system, and overseeing the administration of the service.

Before joining the NGA, Matthew worked in the NHS as part of the Child Health Department, and studied Psychology and English at Keele University.


Molly Taylor, Professional Development Administrator

Molly is a Professional Development Administrator. Molly’s role includes coordinating the NGA Training and Consultancy offer, providing support for Leading Governance and being a main point of contact for the national team of NGA Consultants.

Before joining the NGA Molly worked in Higher Education as a Student Engagement Executive officer and completed her BA (Hons) in Children and Integrated Professional Care at Birmingham City University.


Natasha Davies, Professional Development Administrator 

Natasha is a Professional Development Administrator at NGA. Natasha’s role involves coordinating the NGA Leading Governance programmes, which includes being the main point of contact for participants throughout their learning journey. If you would like more information on the programmes Natasha will more than likely be the person you need to speak to.

Prior to joining the NGA, Natasha worked in Project Management and obtained a degree in English and History.


Paul Aber, Head of Training Development

Paul leads and manages NGA’s face to face training, e-learning and funded development programmes for schools and academies.  This includes working alongside NGA's Head of Consultancy recruiting, training and managing NGA’s team of consultants and trainers. 

Prior to joining NGA, Paul was centre director at the University of Law in York where his role included strategic planning and quality assurance. A former solicitor, Paul has also held course director roles at the University of Westminster and City University and course assessor roles for The Law Society.

Paul has many years’ experience of governance including maintained schools and academy trusts.


Yolly Chegwidden, Training Services Manager

Yolly is the Training Services Manager at the NGA. She manages the delivery of NGA’s Leading Governance programmes; working with local partners to deliver this Department for Education funded training for governors, boards and clerks across the country wherever there is demand, and ensuring participants’ experience of the programmes is high quality and impactful.

Yolly also manages the delivery of NGA’s face to face training and consultancy services for schools, Multi-Academy Trusts, Teaching School Alliances and Local Authorities.

Before joining the NGA, Yolly worked in the education sector organising leadership development programmes for school leaders across the Midlands and South West.



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